The Barrett J Carr Collection of Nurses’ Medals

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Date of Auction: 6th December 2017

Sold for £700

Estimate: £500 - £700

Six: Nursing Sister Dorothy M. Newhall, British Red Cross Society & Order of St. John of Jerusalem, and Serbian Relief Fund

1914 Star, with copy clasp (D. M. Newhall, B.R.C.S. & O. St. J.J.); Serbia, Order of St. Sava, 2nd type, Fourth Class badge, silver-gilt and enamel, slight enamel damage; Oblitch Bravery Medal, silvered bronze; Medal for Zeal, silvered bronze; Serbian Retreat Medal 1915, silver and bronze; Cross of Mercy, bronze and enamel, very fine and better (6) £500-700


Provenance: Tony Sabell Collection, Dix Noonan Webb, December 2012.

Miss Dorothy Minnie Newhall served with the British Red Cross Society during the Great War on the Western Front from 29 October 1914. She then served with the Serbian Relief Fund as a Sanitary Inspector, 1 April 1915 to 27 August 1919, as the following account illustrates:

‘I found Dot Newhall the friendliest and jolliest of the hospital staff. She was their sanitary inspector. She told me that the hospital was a paradise to what it had been when they arrived. It had been used by the Bulgars and the filth was indescribable. I came across her because the scandal of my bug. I had three sleepless nights - one with a louse, next with a mouse, which ran over my face, and the third, at the hospital, with a bug. When I found how deeply Dot Newhall took the bug to heart I Protested that I had brought it with me - I hadn’t realised what an insult and reproach a bug would be to a sanitary inspector in an English hospital.
After Dot had cleansed my room by burning sulphur in it, and going round all the crevices with a blow-pipe, we had tea together, and I asked her what had been the worst moments in her war experiences. She laughed gaily. “That is difficult to say,” she said. “I was in the retreat from Mons first. That wasn’t exactly a picnic. Then I joined the Serbian Relief Find and went out with Mrs. Stobart’s Hospital Unit to Kragujevatz. The peasants came from all around, and there was a lot of typhus, diphtheria, and relapsing fever amongst them. After a bit I caught typhus. It was extremely painful. We were so short-handed that I kept on disinfecting the patients and doing all my ordinary duties when my temperature was 104. When I took to my bed I had horrible nightmares and frightful pains in my back and legs. They thought I was going to die, but I knew I wasn’t. But I was starving and they wouldn’t give me anything to eat, except slops. At last a Serb orderly brought me some beef and fried potatoes, and though I was so weak I could only eat it with my fingers, from that time on I got better.
“And you were in the Albanian Retreat?” I asked, awed.
“You bet I was,” she said, “but Albania was only a little bit of it. We were retreating for six weeks. The mountain part of it was grim, but it was very beautiful- better than the Alps...’

Note: Her Medal Index Card states: ‘Not entitled to B.W.M. and V.M.’ Whilst the presence of a 1914 Star clearly indicates that she was entitled to these awards, it is equally clear that she never received them.

Sold together with the recipient’s silver identity bracelet inscribed, ‘D. A. M. Newhall 1914 R.A.M.C. France .... 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919 .....’ and ‘3.9.39 1 York Chambers, London Argo 244/1’, some inscription obscure due to wear; a ‘Serbian Relief Fund’ lapel badge, enamelled; ‘S.R.F.’ collar dog and a cloth ‘four-chevron’ badge; riband bars; Bestowal Certificte for the Oblitch Medal; Bestowal Certificate for the Serbian Retreat Medal 1915; various letters, including a Serbian Relief Fund reference letter, dated 27 August 1919, and a Foreign Office letter dated 24 June 1927 to accompany a diploma from the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes for her services rendered during the war in connection with relief work in Serbia; and various other copied research.